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Hunt 'categorically' denies ambulance waiting time story

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has emphatically rejected reports that the NHS is planning to double ambulance target times for patients with non life-threatening injuries.

Ambulance target times for some patients 'could double'

Ambulance times for some patients could go up significantly. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The target times for ambulances to reach some patients could double from eight to 19 minutes, according to reports.

A leaked NHS document suggests the change for patients in the 'Red 2' category, meaning their condition is "serious but not the most life-threatening".

The Mail on Sunday reports that the proposals have been agreed by NHS England bosses "in principle", but that changes would only happen after May's general election.


Nigel Farage's personal rating falls sharply in new poll

Nigel Farage's personal approval rating has slipped markedly in a new poll that puts the Ukip leader's popularity below David Cameron.

His net approval rating - the percentage of voters who approve of his performance minus those who disapprove - fell to -17%, eight points lower than a fortnight ago.

The Prime Minister was on -11%, with Ed Miliband on -28% and Nick Clegg on -48%.

Nigel Farage's popularity has waned over the past fortnight. Credit: Empics Entertainment/EMPICS Entertainment

Since the last Opinium poll Mr Farage has faced criticism for comments about breastfeeding in which he suggested that mothers could "sit in the corner" in restaurants while feeding babies to avoid offending people.

The party has also been hit by the resignation of would-be MP Kerry Smith over a leaked recording of him making derogatory comments.

The Opinium poll for the Observer also had bad news for the Liberal Democrats, who slipped to just 6% support, compared to 16% for Ukip.

The survey put Labour on 36% support, seven points ahead of the Conservatives.

Ukip advice to members on social media: 'Just don't'

Ukip members have been urged to avoid using social media following a series of controversies over inappropriate comments.

Party chairman Steve Crowther said his approach to sites such as Twitter and Facebook was "just don't" as the party updated its rules about use of its logo on the internet.

Ukip members and supporters have been involved in several rows over their online activity, but Nigel Farage's party has also been the target of spoof accounts using its logo.

Nigel Farage speaking at the Ukip conference in September. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

A copy of the party's new constitution, seen by the Observer, lays out "rules for online communication", stating that:

Party members shall refrain from using the Ukip logo in terms of their online postings, including avatars, unless they have express written consent to do so from the party leader, the party chairman, the party secretary, the general secretary, the party director, the regional chairman or regional organiser for their region.

– Ukip

Sir Menzies Campbell defends Lockerbie bombing judges

Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell has condemned the "repeated and unfounded criticism" of judges who presided over the Lockerbie bombing trial of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was found guilty of the killing of 270 people after the Pan Am flight exploded at 31,000ft on 21 December 1988.

Sir Menzies said the judges had "unquestioned integrity".

One of the most unsavoury elements of this case is the repeated and unfounded criticism of the judges who sat in the trial, and those who heard the subsequent appeal against conviction.

The judges by convention are unable to respond publicly to these criticisms, which imply that they were somehow part of a conspiracy.

In truth, they were all experienced in criminal law and of unquestioned integrity.

It is a curious feature of this case that those who argued most vehemently for a special court to be set up to deal with the case are now among the most vociferous critics of its verdict.

– Sir Menzies Campbell

Cameron pays tribute to Tory MEP Philip Bradbourn

Prime Minister David Cameron has paid tribute to Tory MEP Philip Bradbourn, who has died at the age of 63.

Mr Bradbourn, who had served in the European Parliament since 1999, was diagnosed with bowel cancer shortly after being re-elected in May and died last night.

David Cameron said Philip Bradbourn had a Credit: Ludlow Conservatives/PA Wire

Mr Cameron paid tribute to the West Midlands MEP's long career in public and political service, for which he was awarded the OBE in 1994.

Philip's dedication to public service was truly admirable; he was a well-respected and effective MEP. In a political career which spanned over four decades, he showed great passion in serving both the party and his constituents. My thoughts are with Philip's family at this sad time.

– David Cameron


Keith Vaz: Immigration system is in 'intensive care'

The troubled British immigration system has "moved from A&E into intensive care", according to the chairman of the influential Home Affairs Select Committee.

Keith Vaz said there were 89,000 missing migrants and a backlog of 343,000 visa applications at the Home Office.

Keith Vaz told ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener that it was up to politicians including the Prime Minister to take action on exit checks for migrants.

Cameron: Only Tories offer 'competence' on immigration

The Prime Minister has insisted that only the Tories can offer "competence" on dealing with immigration and his plans to reform European welfare rules would be an "absolute requirement" in his proposed renegotiation of the UK's links with Brussels.

Cameron: Only Tories can offer 'competence' on immigration'. Credit: PA

An influential Commons committee has highlighted a series of failures in the immigration system but the David Cameron claimed "real progress" had been made in addressing the issue and voting for Labour or Ukip would deliver "chaos".

But the scale of the challenge faced by the Tories, who had set a goal of reducing net migration to the "tens of thousands", was underlined by the scathing Home Affairs Select Committee report.

Tory MEP Philip Bradbourn dies aged 63

Tory MEP Philip Bradbourn has died aged 63, the Conservative Party has announced. The West Midlands MEP, who had served in the European Parliament since 1999, was diagnosed with bowel cancer shortly after being re-elected in May and died last night.

His no-nonsense approach to politics made him a powerful voice for the West Midlands as well as a resolute defender of the British taxpayers' interests in Brussels and Strasbourg.

– Ashley Fox, leader of the Conservative MEPs

Ashley Fox, leader of the Conservative MEPs, said Mr Bradbourn was a "one-off" adding that he was "a much loved character who could always be relied on for a robust intervention and a succinct summary of a political point".

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